Are employers biased against new graduates?
A recent study has found a gap between college students’ perceptions of whether they are qualified for a job and employers’ perceptions of their qualifications. In this study by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, as cited by Inside Higher Ed, 90 percent of college seniors thought they were proficient in professionalism and work ethic, but only about 43 percent of employers felt the same way. Furthermore, almost 80 percent of students felt they had good oral and written communication and critical thinking skills, but only 56 percent of employers believed this.
With such a gulf between how employers perceive college seniors and how the soon-to-be-grads perceive themselves, new college and university graduates may often find themselves on the receiving end of hiring bias by prospective employers. What are some things recent grads can do to overcome this bias and convince prospective employers that they are, in fact, good candidates for the job?
Do Market Research
Job search coach Dana Manciagli writes in Learn How to Become that new graduates should do market research and use their findings to highlight the requisite skills for a job: “Find 10 job descriptions and highlight all of the keywords and phrases that are most commonly repeated.
Then, that graduate can highlight those skills in their resume, cover letter and during their interview.”
Spend time volunteering
If you’re concerned when finding a new job that the only aspect of your resume employers will notice is your recent educational experience, boost your volunteer hours so you can showcase your non-educational accomplishments.
As Resume Lab explains, “Writing the volunteer experience section is an excellent way to showcase your key skills, interests, and motivation.”
Prospective employers who know a bit more about you than just your educational qualifications may be more likely to consider you for a job. That’s why networking is another vital part of the search when finding a new job.
Forbes explains, “Have you ever taken an in-depth look at...how other people with similar positions have attained their present height? Admiring certifications is allowed, but the roadmap to that height can be reached if only you have a strong network and a good relationship with others.”
Try a new hiring platform
A new direct-to-hire job platform called GeekBidz invites job seekers to participate in an online skills ranking system, then pairs employers with the job seeker who best fits their job posting. That candidate then can be invited to an on-the-job evaluation.
By side stepping the resume and interview process, and going straight to an on-the-job evaluation, GeekBidz allows employers to focus not on your educational qualifications, but on your skills, however you have gained them.
Be more flexible
If you’re a new graduate, don’t pin your hopes on one particular job or even career field.
An article on www.cnbc.com reminds job seekers, “While your dream job at your dream company may not be available right now, you can broaden your horizons and be more open to roles you might not have thought of before.”
To land on a job - Think outside the box
As a recent graduate, you may be frustrated that employers focus on your lack of experience in the working world or that they treat college qualifications as though they don’t make you good enough for a real job.
While you may not be able to change employers’ attitudes, you can think outside the box and try new strategies that overcome the problem of hiring bias and showcase your true proficiency and hire-ability.